BODY IMAGE / BODY DYSMORPHIA

I wanted to capture the idea of people seeing something different to what they see in the mirror. With many people going to extreme lengths to try to achieve this. And many people feeling so unhappy and depressed with themselves that they feel they have to do these things to fit in with society.

Therefore, i have taken some images of Lauren cutting at her skin to represent her feelings of wanting to rid herself of any body fat because that is what society tells us to think.

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I also took pictures of her using cling film as a way of sucking in the fat and hiding the lumps and bumps. There is also the theory that it can help you lose fat and because it makes you sweat more and lose fat in that area.

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EDITED IMAGE:

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However, these ideas are part of this Western culture that has got us to believe that we need to be slim and have a flat stomach.

“Mass media, including television, magazines, video games, cinema and the Internet, are a major part of the lives of milions of children, adolescents, and adults. These media are saturated with multiple, overlapping, and unhealthy images about ideal body sizes and shapes in relation to pleasure, morality, gender, attractiveness, self-control, food, weight management, and power. The ideal female constructed by mass media is young, tall, thin, and White, with at least moderately large breasts. ” (p.101-102)

Furthermore, there is a correlation between media exposure and body image.

“The amount of time adolescent girls spend viewing appearance-focused media… is positively and modestly correlated with internalization of the thin ideal, drive for thinness, and body dissatisfaction. For adolescents and young adults, involvement with magazines is more influential than the amount of television watched, and the strongest correlate is internalization of the slender beauty ideal” (p.103)

Cash, T.F. and Smolak, L. (2012). Body Image: A Handbook of Science, Practice, and Prevention. 2nd ed. New York: Guilford Publications.

Therefore, the magazines which are filled with images and celebrities that have been photoshopped are the most influential in creating this idea of the slim body as the ideal and encouraging people to try many crazy ideas in a bid to recreate what they see in the magazines.

 

DOES MAKE UP MASK OUR REAL IDENTITY?

Through reading The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women by Naomi Wolf I got myself thinking about the way that we use make up and how it makes us feel. Her book discusses how women are subjected to look at images every day which provoke enormous amounts of pressure to looking a certain way and how someone looks is very important within the media. If you dont look a certain way than you become an outsider within and marginalised within society and this impacts how we see ourselves. We therefore, try to fit in as much as possible to look like the people we see to become more ‘normal’.

I started to think about the idea that every day most people put on make-up before we leave the house. Speaking to my peers about how they feel about wearing make-up came as no suprise. All of them said they wouldn’t go further than the corner shop without wearing make up. Many of them are extremely confident and outgoing but still find it impossible to allow the world to see the ‘real’ them. Personally, i agree, as much as it has become like a routine, it makes me feel more feminine and confident when i am wearing make-up as it disguises the blemishes and hides the insecurities. But effectively it acts as a mask as it hides away the parts that we dont want people to see and often many people can look entirely different when wearing make up that we wouldn’t even be able to recognise them.

Kim Kardashian, a showbiz personality, helped skyrocket the trend of ‘contouring’. Using highlighters, bronzers and the right make up brushes you can resemble a completely different person.

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It can give make you look like you have prominent cheekbones, a slimmer nose and smaller chin. Therefore, adding to this idea of becoming less like reality. Especially, when the images have an added filter or Photoshop afterwards.

The trend of the ‘no make up selfie’ earlier in the year raised a great amount of money but it also highlighted just how reliant on make-up we have become as a society that it turns into a big deal when we take it off and show people our real selves.

I have taken some images to show how make-up has become like a mask within western culture as it is something we cannot live without. Especially with the pressures of the media.

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I took a white mask and covered it in make up so it would look like she was taking away version of herself that only she wants people to see. I took some images of Lauren looking in the mirror as if she is ripping off her mask to reveal the make-up less real identity.

I also took some images of the mask hung up on the back of the door as if to remember to take it with you when you leave the house.

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I also did some as if it’s just part of the make-up bag and the ‘every-day’.

 

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PHYSICALLY PHOTOSHOPPED

The way that people take photographs today can often be manipulated and digitally enhanced afterwards and therefore encourage people to believe that this ‘photoshopped’ and perfect image is normal. This then leads to comparison and ultimately a lower self esteem.

I thought it would be a cool idea to physically ‘Photoshop’ Lauren using paint to slim down the limbs and torso as you would do on Photoshop. I used acrylic paint and a large paintbrush down Lauren’s legs, arms and inner body so that  it would be like a mock up of how extreme some photographs are ‘Photoshopped’.

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I also did various shots of just sections of the body to emphasise this mutilation that we have on the body and how we are ‘Photoshopping’ parts of our bodie’s away when we digital enhance our images.

I also found this article very interesting and it raises a few important ideas about today’s society. I particularly liked the quote:

“Today, we see women presented to us all hours of the day in every form of media that do not look like women 20 years ago OR women you see face to face. And yet, over time, many of us come to hold ourselves to that unattainable standard that appears so normal and unquestioned as we physically Photoshop ourselves out of reality.”

Redefined, B. (2013, September 26th). Physically photoshopping ourselves out of reality. Retrieved May 10, 2014, from http://www.beautyredefined.net: http://www.beautyredefined.net/physically-photoshopping-ourselves-out-of-reality/

Advertising images do not reflect reality, with wrinkles, moles, tooth colour and even features receiving heavy amounts of Photoshop. For example, this image of Twiggy.

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Here are my edited versions of my photographs. I used Photoshop Elements to really bring out the different colours and shades and so you can notice the difference more.

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BARBIE IN A BOX

I also wanted to show the idea that women’s bodies are controlled under late capitalism and how we have practically become commodities ourselves to be sold and like ‘Barbie dolls in a box’.

“Late capitalism quite literally brands the bodies of women…Femininity itself has become a brand, a narrow and shrinking formula of commoditised identity which can be sold back to women who have become alienated from their own power as living, loving, labouring beings”(p.4)

Penny, L. (2011). Meat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism. Winchester: Zero Books.

We buy into this idea of conventional beauty standards and buy fake tan, fake eyelashes, razors, hair extensions, hair dye, make up, fat burners and many other products in order to enhance our body image and become like a Barbie. Therefore, we are almost turning into a product ourselves to be sold and distributed.

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Wykes, M. and Gunter, B. (2005). The Media and Body Image: If Looks Could Kill. London Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

With all the things that we do to our bodies, we are becoming less natural as a society. This idea is like the hypodermic needle theory and the mass media has had a direct effect on us as a nation. When we see images of celebrities in magazines and their images uploaded to Instragram and other sites, we immediately believe that it is what is regarded as acceptable beauty.

I wanted to create an image of Lauren in a box. I wanted to liken Lauren to the image below:

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I told Lauren to smile with a fake expression, likewise to Barbie. I also wanted her to stand in a static and rigid position so that she would look doll-like and almost like she was standing in a box to be bought.

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I will Photoshop this image with

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so that it appears that Lauren is in the box.

Here is my finalised image:

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To achieve this I made a layer in Photoshop once I opened the original image of Lauren and then made a  duplicate layer. I blurred the copied layer by going to Filter > Gaussian Blur and changed the settings to 1.5 to 6 pixels. I applied a layer mask and filled the layer mask with black.  To give Lauren a more airbrushed skin look i used a soft mechanical brush over the layer mask .I kept brushing over her face and body so it appeared flawless and the face looked more plastic.  I enhanced the colour of her eyes by adding a new layer and choosing a blue colour for the eyes. I used a brush tool so that it would fit the pupil of the eyes then painted it with the blue colour. I then changed the blend to overlay so that it was more subtle. To add some colour to the cheeks I made a new layer and changed the size of the brush to 100 pixels. I used a brush on the cheeks with a light pink and then changed the blend again. I added a new layer to do the dark eye liner and blended it with linear dodge and duplicated the layer so the effects were stronger. I then put the image inside the Barbie box and added a pink border like the edge of the frame.

TOM FORSYTHE

Tom Forsythe, is a photographer from Kanab who created a controversial series using Barbie dolls called ‘Food Chain Barbie’. Through his images he wanted to satirize Western culture’s conventional-beauty myth. His shocking images of Barbie in sexualised positions and vintage kitchen products also represent mutilation of our bodies through trying to become more like the ‘Barbie’.

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He also did some other work called ‘Personal Illusions’ which shows people’s interpretations of their body image.
Forsythe states on his website,

“A participatory photo essay where the subject chooses objects to represent how they want the world to see them, then plays in front of distortion material while I photograph the results, which are usually very different from what the subject sees, proving in the process that how we view the world depends completely on where we stand.”

Personal Illusions. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2014, from http://www.tomforsythe.com: http://www.tomforsythe.com/personal-illusions.html

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BARBIE IMAGES

Drawing inspiration from Sheila Pree Bright’s series, ‘Plastic Bodies’, i decided to play around with that idea of half Barbie, half human. I wanted to merge the two together in juxtaposition to convey the likeness of women today resembling this ‘Barbie’ look through cosmetic surgery and make up due to the media’s pressures.

I put on over the top make-up on Lauren, including two sets of fake eyelashes, foundation, blusher, bronzer, pink lipstick , dark eyebrows and made sure that her hair was extra volumised. I also gave her a tiara to go along the theme of uber-feminity and to resemble this Barbie doll image:

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Using a website, Taaz.com, i was able to photoshop blonde hair onto the image and change the colour of the lipstick so that it was more of a baby pink shade and therefore, more ‘Barbie-like’.

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I then used Photoshop to merge the image together with this image:

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The final result was this picture:

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It is funny to see how similar the images look and how doll like we are becoming through the way we use make up and plastic surgery to alter ourselves.

I also did another version of the image:

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